Often months seem to go by without any activity on our issues, and then suddenly several opportunities pop up all at once. This weekend is such a time. We have the chance to submit to the Competition and Markets Authority until Friday 12 July, and now there is to be a parliamentary debate on Thursday 11th mainly concerning leasehold, but we are assured “fleecehold” is also on the agenda. The civil service have just produced a briefing paper on fleecehold to inform MPs introduced by the following:
It is becoming increasingly common on new-build private estates for freeholders to be required to contribute to the maintenance of the estate’s communal areas and facilities. This practice has been referred to as ‘fleecehold’. This short paper provides background on the issue and sets out the Government’s proposed reforms. The paper covers England only.
You can read the paper here: https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-8497#fullreport Our response briefly is that while we welcome acknowledgement that there is a huge problem, we feel that these measures are too little to late. They do not work well for leaseholders, so why would they for fleecehold? There has been no questioning of the use of the private estate model for all new build residential developments. We do not accept that it is appropriate to use this model, which may be well suited for commercial developments, for people’s homes. It is expensive to run, unfair and anti-competitive. It has been used by developers to deliver estates on the cheap and at the same time create a new asset class. It has to be stopped!
What can HorNets do??
1) Ask your MP to attend the debate to represent your interests. You might like to add your own comments on the briefing paper! Highlight any difficulties you have personally suffered from fleecehold.
2) Email the CMA and copy in your MP
A HorNet member has produced a very detailed template email that you can adapt for this purpose if the idea of writing your own does not appeal. In this document he states :
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has opened an investigation into the possible mis-selling of houses. IF the CMA eventually decides that Developers HAVE mis-sold us our “Freehold” houses (because Developers did not inform us of the true nature of our service charges), THEN:
1. The government is more likely to HALT the mis-selling of “Freehold” houses.
2. The government is likely to implement strong measures to protect house-buyers from this particular house-selling scam in future.
3. Developers may have to financially COMPENSATE “Freehold” house-owners (as after the CMA’s 2011 inquiry into the PPI scandal).
So it’s important that as many owners of Freehold houses paying annual service-charges email the CMA to make sure that the CMA understands the MASSIVE scale of the mis-selling of “Freehold” houses. If a CMA investigation does not judge that we HAVE been mis-sold our “Freehold” houses, then our situation will probably not improve. NOW is our big opportunity.
Thank you David, this IS an important opportunity for those trapped in fleecehold to gain redress. David’s document which includes a long email template can be downloaded here : https://www.homeownersrights.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/longCMAletter.docx
If you want something shorter to work on, then try this one : https://www.homeownersrights.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/shortCMAletter.docx
Both these documents contain guidance/how-to as well as suggested wording. You need to save the document on your device before editing it. This is the link to the CMA announcement.